Ah… BIAB Brewing my all time favorite brewing method. So simple, so inexpensive and the beer is so good.
If you are wanting to learn how to biab get your pen out and get ready to take lots of notes because I am going to give you the fully Monty in this post. Everything from the equipment you need, where to get the best recipes and how to brew up your first batch of beer.
So let’s get to it…
What Exactly is BIAB
My gut is that if you are looking for how to biab then you already have at least a pretty good idea what the basics of it are.
For those of you who do not know… BIAB stands for Brew in a Bag. Basically it is a simplified all grain brewing method designed by some of my favorite people on this planet… Australians!
These genius people… took what I believe was an over complicated process (all grain brewing) and dummied it down for those of us who want to cut out the BS, brew our own beer and then of course drink’er.
Whereas some of the older more traditional methods of making beer use 3 vessels… a hot liquor tank, a mash tun and a boil kettle… with BIAB brewing you use only 1 vessel and a bag!
This means that your brew day is much easier… shorter… less hassle involved… and the clean up… oh the clean up is a breeze in comparison… AND above all the cost to get set up brewing is a fraction of the price!
How 3 Vessel Brewing Works
In order to understand how brew in a bag works… I will quickly run you through how a traditional 3 vessel brew day would go.
1) First you would heat up your mash water in the hot liquor tank.
2) Once you have reached your strike temperature you would transfer the mash water from the hot liquor tank to the mash tun.
3) You would dough in. Add your grains to the mash tun.
4) You would do your 60-90 minute mash in the mash tun.
5) Once you were done mashing and sparging you would transfer the wort over to the boil kettle.
6) You would boil the wort, adding hops at the intervals outlined in your recipe.
7) Once boil is over you would chill the wort, add to the fermenter, pitch your yeast.
That is a high elevated overview of a brew day, but you get the idea…
How BIAB Works
With BIAB brewing you only have the one vessel/kettle… it serves as the hot liquor tank, the mash tun (with the bag), and the boil kettle.
1) Heat up the water to strike temperature in your 1 vessel/kettle.
2) Put the brew bag in the kettle once temperature is reached.
3) Fill up the bag with your grains.
4) Mash… i.e. leave the bag filled with the grains in the kettle for 60-90 minutes, keeping the water at your mash temp.
5) Pull bag filled with grains out of kettle once mash is over. Let liquid drain into kettle from bag.
6) Boil the liquid which is now called wort, adding hops as your recipe calls for them.
7) Chill the wort, add it to the fermenter and add your yeast (pitch the yeast).
That’s it… same idea as brewing in a 3 vessel system… but so much easier and less convoluted and a fraction of the price.
Next time you see an Australian thank them! 🙂
Equipment You Need
Besides the cleaning… in my opinion this is the best part of BIAB brewing… you hardly need any equipment.
The following is all you need:
1) A kettle. If you are brewing 5-6 gallon batches, get one that can hold 15 gallons.
2) A turkey fryer and a bottle of propane. (you will brew outside with this system. I you want to brew inside you can get an all-in-one brewing system, which is basically brew in a bag but an electric version… I use both)
3) A brew bag. Make sure the bag you pick up is the right size for your kettle.
4) A mash paddle (AKA a big plastic spoon).
Outside of that you will use your fermenting equipment you used for brewing beer kits. If you have never brewed at all I recommend you read the following post as this article is written with the understanding that you have at least brew beer kits before.
NOTE: All the equipment listed above you can get from any of our recommended vendors (see the top of the blog). If you pick up your stuff there, they will send Ol’Big Robb a few pennies for sending you their way; which is of course appreciated and allows me to keep this blog up and perhaps buy the odd pour of beer or two! Cheers!
As for recipes… you can use an all grain recipe and it will work just fine.
One of the simplest ways to get started though is to use an all grain beer kit. These kits come with the recipe and all the ingredients all packaged up for you.
This saves you from having to find your own recipe and source out all of your own ingredients.
I love using these all grain beer kits… to this day I still use many of the recipes that came with those kits because they make some very nice beer.
Adventures in Homebrewing has some really good kits that I recommend. (see recommended vendors for details)
Time to Brew
When it comes to learning how to biab that is as hard at it really is my friend. I am here to help you if you any questions or need further help.
The following are two other posts that you may find help with getting started with brew in a bag:
Let me know in the comments if you found this post helpful or if you have any questions on getting going.
Enjoy the journey my friend, it’s a great hobby, so much better then collecting stamps! Cheers